Sunday, November 12, 2017

Q&A with Melissa de la Cruz

Melissa de la Cruz, photo by Denise Bovee
Melissa de la Cruz is the author of the new novel Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe, an updated version of Pride and Prejudice. Her many other books include The Isle of the Lost and the Blue Bloods series. She lives in West Hollywood.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for this updated Pride and Prejudice story with the genders reversed?

A: It always bothered me that Lizzy Bennet had so few options in Pride and Prejudice - like if Darcy hadn’t married her, she had so little recourse - she could become a spinster, work as a governess, marry the boring Mr. Collins. But she would not be in society, would not be a person of stature, unless she married well.

So I thought what if Lizzy was Darcy? What is she was the successful one? What if she had the fortune? And what if Lizzy Bennet were a nice guy named Luke? And it went from there...

Q: Have you always been a Jane Austen fan, and what do you think accounts for the ongoing popularity of her work?

A: I came to Jane Austen later in my literary life, I didn’t even read the books till after college. A friend of mine was enamored with them and pressed them upon me, and I had been so reluctant just because they seemed to be a bit of a fad with all those prestige movies of the books out in the ‘90s.

But then I finally read Pride and Prejudice and I was just taken by how smart, witty, and funny Jane Austen is - so dry and observant. She holds nothing back, and shows you the world in all its pettiness.

I think she was a keen observer of people, and people have not changed, society has not changed, there will always be status seekers and the good hearted, and that’s why she’s so popular until today.

Q: You've written for different age groups. Do you have a preference?

A: Not really. I like writing for different ages. 

Q: You also have another new book out this fall, Because I Was a Girl. How did this book come about, and how did you select the authors to include?

A: My good friend Christian Trimmer, who was an editor I had worked with on Blue Bloods when he was at Hyperion, approached me to edit a book about inspirational essays for girls and I said of course!

We wanted to show a good variety of women in different fields, ethnicities, and sexual orientation, and then it was a matter of using connections and pulling in favors to get a really rich brew. Very proud of this book!

Q: What are you working on now?

A:So many things! Next year I have Someone to Love, a Harlequin YA about a girl who struggles with an eating disorder, the sequel to Alex and Eliza, which is Love and War, in April, then I have the fourth Isle of the Lost book coming out in May, and also a new Disney project that is debuting next fall that hasn’t been announced yet. Am also working on a few TV movies and TV pilots as well. 

--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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